Bell Best at Atlanta

Christopher Bell

After sweeping all three stages, Bell also earned seven playoff points. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Christopher Bell held off Matt Crafton to score a victory in Saturday's Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bell became the first driver in NASCAR to sweep all three stages of a race in the new format that was introduced this year. He took his third career series checkered flag.

Austin Cindric spun to bring out caution and set up a two lap shootout to the finish. Bell got a great jump on Crafton when the green reappeared and was able to stay ahead for the final two circuits and the win.

"This thing was really fast all weekend,” Bell said. “It was a dream machine. It was really, really good.

“These Truck races are really tough to get restarts going because it’s so aero-dependent. You can get all sorts of momentum or you can get all sorts of momentum taken away from you. That happened to be there in the middle section of the race.”

Crafton, Johnny Sauter, Ben Rhodes and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.

“We had a shot, at the end of the day that was what it all about,” Crafton said. “It was close. This Menard’s Tundra was good, but it wasn’t great. We just lacked on short run speed, the 4 truck (Bell) had us on that.”

Elliott, who was making a start for for GMS Racing, came back after having a tire go down earlier in the race.

"This was a fast truck we knew that for sure," Elliott said. "We got down early but certainly didn't give up. I want to thank everyone at GMS for the opportunity to drive today. That was a lot of fun."

Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Grant Enfinger, Timothy Peters and Ross Chasten completed the first 10 finishers.

Kyle Busch was looking to sweep the day after winning the XFINITY Series opener at Atlanta. However, late in the race he appeared to have a tire problem and hit the wall in front of Kaz Grala.

He was forced to pit road for repairs and eventually finished 26th.

"Well, without a couple cautions and keeping air in our (expletive) tires, we have a shot there, guys," Busch said on his radio after the race.

The race was the last for the series on Atlanta's racing surface before a new layer of asphalt is installed in time for next year's return. Not everyone is pleased with the decision to replace the worn out surface.

"Please, please do not repave this racetrack. This is by far the coolest track we race on," Crafton pleaded.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is now off until Saturday, April 1 at Martinsville Speedway.

 

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